Ask the Diabetes Educator Archive

7/18/05

Q:
My father died from diabetes at the age of 46. I don’t have much information regarding his medical history. But I do remember that he said he was insulin resistant. What makes a person insulin resistant? I have been having strange symptoms lately and will be calling my doctor for a glucose test. But I am very nervous in the meantime worrying about this. If I do have diabetes or end up with it one day…is there a high chance that I too will be insulin resistant? Considering my family history, its hard not to associate diabetes with early death.

A:
Family history can be an indicator that you can have a tendency towards a disease, but does not pre-ordain you to early death. "Insulin resistance" is what is generally experienced in type 2 diabetes, meaning that insulin is not able to unlock the doors of the cells as fluidly as is normal so that sugar can be taken up out of the blood. To reduce your anxiety, arrange for a lab test to check your fasting blood sugars, and take it from there. Even if you show higher blood sugars, you can manage them before they get out of control. Following a healthy lifestyle keeps the lid on things for many people diagnosed with pre-diabetes or diabetes. "Denial" or "avoidance" doesn't manage things; making the necessary lifestyle changes DOES.



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